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Agachiko is a band led by Boston-based vocalist Gabrielle Agachiko, bringing together an impressive array of musicians that includes saxophonist Russ Gershon of the Either/Orchestra, and Ken Field of the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, both distilling their amply-endowed playing down to a bare essence where all that remains is the music to support an exceptional voice and vision. Largely an acoustic ensemble, Agachiko has a malleable ability to accomplish a variety of performance ends, sounding minimal and elegant, bluesy and brazen, or lavish and sated.
The band's earthy and eclectic repertoire spans original compositions and Nina Simone-related material to smoldering torch songs and Tin Pan Alley. Gabrielle Agachiko's voice has an uncommon combination of confidence and intimacy that allows her songs to sound lyrical and conversational at once. Rich and resonant, this voice imbues the standard "Angel Eyes" with a mahogany darkness, stained deeper with life and experience. Simone's "Four Women" is delivered in a most personal way with not a hint of imitation of the original.
Instrumentation is intentionally sparse on all selections, accented potently withBlake Newman's flexible acoustic bass playing and soloing. Field's flute melds well with the repertoire, assimilating, as an instrument, with this music better than on recent recordings. Drummer Phil Neighbors fills out the bottom sound with his expert tom-tom work, jettisoning the bands overall organic sound into the musical stratis. Yes! is fresh and responsive, a fine vocal outing by any measure.
Track Listing: Blue Winter; Your Mama; Four Women; When The Water is Gone; Angel Eyes;
Wrods; Love Isn’t Easy; Since I Fell For You; Now I know; Unlovable;
Personnel: Gabrielle Agachiko: vocals; Russ Gershon: tenor saxophone; Ken Field:
flute; Scott Getchell: trumpet and flugelhorn; Sam Davis: guitar; Blake
Newman: acoustic bass; Phil Neighbors: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.